Have you ever met anyone who hates music? Yeah, me either. In a world full of differences, being a fan of music is a commonality. It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it?
With the recent deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington looming over the world of music, I love seeing people come together, sharing songs, videos, quotes, interviews, lyrics or moments that resonated with them.
And then, of course, there are people who choose negativity. I’m sure you all have at least one of these people in your lives. You know, the ones who post things like, “Soundgarden sucked” or “Chester Bennington didn’t have a great voice” or “What selfish pricks they both are for committing suicide” or “Here come all of the (insert band name here) “fans” who only purchased one album”.
This last one is the one I want to talk about because it confuses me the most, as I’m not sure of the intended goal of the statement. What benefit could a post like that have to anyone, including the person who posted it? Was it to make fans who only bought Superunknown or Meteora feel like lesser fans because they only purchased the “popular” albums? Maybe this negative poster feels that if you don’t own every album, or if you don’t only wear the band’s t-shirts, or if you don’t have posters lining your bedroom walls, then you aren’t worthy enough to be a fan? Is the thought that if you only ever downloaded one song by the artist, then how dare you publicly say something nice about how his music helped you through a difficult time or made you smile?
Seriously…I don’t get it, mainly because I consider myself a musician. And if you are bold enough to make that claim, then you probably understand and respect fans, regardless of how much of your merch they purchase.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’m this crazy good musician, as most of my performances have included seedy bars or restaurants, with people dropping utensils while they eat their dinners, all while I sing my heart out. But my point is that I have performed in public, and on rare occasions, I have shared songs that I have written. And yes, it’s an amazing feeling when a “fan” requests one of your songs, or asks you the meaning of a certain lyric, or hums three bars of your chorus. As a musician, I think connecting with people is the goal, even if that connection is only one song, one lyric, one chorus or one moment.
Now if I were to multiply that feeling by millions, that is the number of fans we are dealing with in terms of Cornell and Bennington. Some fans are die-hards and some aren’t. But if you claim to be a fan, all that really means is that somewhere along the line, a piece of someone else’s creation made you feel something. It really is that simple.
So, to the Cornell fans who maybe don’t know ALL of the words to Black Hole Sun, but love the music anyway, or to the Linkin Park fans who only purchased Hybrid Theory and no other albums after that, this is for you. Don’t ever let someone else tell you that you can’t mourn the death of a person who created a piece of art that was powerful enough to speak to your soul.
Music has the power to bring you back to your first date, your first kiss, your graduation, your wedding, your divorce, a failure, a success, a birth, a death, a new beginning, or a sad ending.
Just always remember that it’s this power of music, not the purchase of the album, that connects us all.
And over the last few months, I’ve learned that anyone who tries to downplay that connection, simply doesn’t get it.
RIP Chester Bennington 1976-2017
RIP Chris Cornell 1964-2017